Fundamental #15: Check in with friends and family and accept feedback about one's use of psychoactive drugs.
Observing Ecstasy
by Observer
Citation:   Observer. "Observing Ecstasy: An Experience with Ecstasy (exp7356)". Jun 15, 2001.

T+ 0:00
1 tablet oral MDMA (pill / tablet)
  T+ 1:00 1 tablet oral MDMA (pill / tablet)

I took the drug 'Ecstasy' mainly out of curiosity about the drug's increased prominence as the 'drug of choice' and its mystique of 'hipness'. I also tried it out of a general interest in experimental drug use. Prior to taking ecstasy for the first time, I had heard mostly good things about it effects, but also that some had experienced negative effects as well.

There are also apparently some extreme cases involving death though mostly not from the drug itself but from related activities. Though I don't have a profound story to tell about the experience, I did find it significant and somewhat alarming and felt that I should for some reason share this with others. By alarming, I don't mean that I 'had a bad trip' as one might with LSD usage but rather that there was a feeling of something more physically dangerous about the drug which persists beyond its immediate effects. I am not against drug use but I also do not advocate or condone it because of the obvious dangers involved either immediate and prolonged. I use them knowing that I do so at my own risk.

I used ecstasy twice. I took it in the form of a small, uncoated pill, slightly yellow in color, with a logo imprinted on one side. I also verified (to the limited degree possible) that it was a relatively pure sample. I had heard that one should avoid eating heavily before using it so I had only a light vegetable soup for lunch and took the dose late in the evening of the same day. The first time I ingested the drug, I took a single pill. After about an hour and twenty minutes, I experienced a rapidly intensifying sense of energetic pleasure which lasted for about half an hour. After that the effects receded but I remained very alert and awake for about six hours at which time I became suddenly exhausted and went to bed. The following day I felt tired and experienced a hung-over feeling. Though I call it 'hung-over', it was distinctly different from an alcohol hangover and I will say more about this later.

A week after taking the first dose, I took a second dose, this time taking two pills spread by an interval of one hour. This time the drug seemed to have the 'full-on' effect at the commonly reported intensity. Apart from the intensity, however, the effects themselves did not so closely match what I'd heard. There was initially a sensation of both a physical and emotional energy. It was surprisingly not at all an unfamiliar feeling but rather what seemed a very intense and sustained version of a state experienced normally under non drug-induced conditions.

In spite of this familiarity, is very hard to describe this feeling accurately. The closest I can come is to say that it felt like a sense of relief as one might feel when one suddenly receiving good news regarding something which will affect one's life in a significant or long term way. I did, to some degree, experience the signature 'feeling-of-empathy' which is the drug's most celebrated effect but I would describe it more as a feeling that my differences or being 'at odds with' others and the world had dissolved or become simply unimportant. There were no noticeable visual effects though there were very intense physical feelings of lightness and also pleasant heaviness or langour. I also noticed that music was very powerful and hypnotic though less emotionally or intellectually meaningful. Physically, there was a constant and occasionally overwhelming feeling of motion and warmth as if streams, threads, or channels of heat were flowing upwards and forwards through my body especially in my head. I noticed also that cigarette smoke was remarkably smooth to inhale and that I drank a lot of water though I was cautious not to overdo it.

I would not exactly use the word 'ecstasy' to describe the experience. It was pleasurable and intense which in a sense is 'ecstatic' but it was also heavy and overpowering. I felt as though I would suddenly faint or blackout at times. At these points there was an undertone of alarm which played against the positive side of the experience and made me urgent or restless. I felt as though some internal part of my self, both physical and psychological, was being stimulated in an abnormal and forced way. I continued to experience this feeling (without the positive effects) in the subsequent days. The initial wave of effects held for strong for about two hours then died down reappearing in waves over the next two hours.

After the drug wore off (about four hours after the second pill), I felt very awake and alert though somewhat lightheaded. I remained in this state for about twelve hours (into the following day) at which time I began to feel exhausted and went to bed. When I awoke, I felt somewhat hungover and mentally cloudy. I noticed in the mirror that my eyes were bloodshot and glazed. The cloudiness was similar to what I've experienced after heavy or prolonged marijuana use. At the same time it was different from the cloudiness of marijuana with which I usually feel mildly incoherent, inefficient, slower than usual but also relaxed and uncaring - even restful.

With ecstasy, I felt that my ability to think clearly remained quite intact, but that it was difficult and even undesirable to concentrate. I also felt apprehensive, and at times even a sudden feeling of dread and paranoia as well as vertigo. As to the hangover, it was quite different than an alcohol hangover. An alcohol hangover usually leaves me feeling exhausted but as the day progresses I feel as if I am gradually recovering. The ecstasy hangover seemed independent of time. There was no feeling of progress toward recovery and the hangover actually worsened the second day after taking it to the point of feeling something I would describe as 'damaged', 'diseased', or 'infected'.

The most disturbing and even bizarre after-effect of ecstasy has been a series of more than normally vivid dreams during nightly sleep in the four or five nights following the usage. I wouldn't describe the dreams as 'nightmares' (no particularly terrifying images or events) but they were extrememly vivid, coherent, anxiety-ridden, and VERY long. I want to emphasize the last point, which I find the most notable. Speaking for myself, I have found that even very long dreams are usually fragmented and change direction and situation often and in illogical and disconnected ways. The ecstasy-related dreams persisted over a distinct location with very complex, intricate, and memorable logic and involved familiar people from my past and present, cast in roles surprisingly similar to their real associations to my life but weighed with an exaggerated and even ominous level of weird, elusive symbolism.

Overall, my conclusion is that ecstasy is not a good drug for me. In fact, I do not plan to take it ever again. Curiously, this hasn't in any way decreased my interest in occasional drug usage as a personal and exploratory activity. However, many people do enjoy ecstasy, some to the point of advocating it strongly, and even occasionally taking it so far as to consider it a potential cure for the social ills of the world. I have no reason to disbelieve at least the claim that it is a worthwhile activity for some people though from what I've read, its long term effects on brain physiology may be more of a tradeoff than it is worth.

I think there may be something of a temperament clash between what I seek in drug use and what ecstasy provides. I did not find the set of effects 'interesting'. It lacked many of the aspects of drugs which I find the most worthwhile: The potential for a revelatory or even mystical experience, and the feeling, particular to psychedelic drugs, that there has occurred some significant, lasting, and occasionally profound breakthrough in personal or intellectual awareness.

As to having a bonding effect with others, I also think psychedelics might be nearer the mark. What I mean by this is NOT that I feel more open and loving towards others while under the influence of psychedelics, but that there is a potential for a more subtle and ultimately valuable kind of understanding between people in the aftermath of the experience. Ecstasy's immediate rush of empathy which wore off after a few hours and left me feeling quite empty. I did not feel that the happiness of ecstasy was earned and it seemed the closest experience to what I think people might mean when they speak of drugs being used for 'kicks'.

As a final and positive note, I have never written about drug experiences before mainly because the thought never occurred to me. Yet the ecstasy experience somehow prompted me to do so. Sorry if I've bored anyone. It took me quite a while to find this site where people seem to meaningfully discuss drugs as a life experience not unlike other pursuits which involve not only reward but effort. I have really enjoyed reading the other entries posted here and wish you all well. Finding this site has been perhaps, after all, some reflection of the openness for which ecstasy is famed.


Exp Year: 2001ExpID: 7356
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Jun 15, 2001Views: 82,505
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